Friday, April 29, 2005

The Marquette Tribune -- Fearless Watchdog?

An explosive piece of information from Ryan Alexander on the 1832 blog. Alexander has been rather miffed at the Tribune because, although they reported his petition to fire Pam Peters of the Office of Student Development, they failed to provide a URL that would let anybody who was interested find the petition and perhaps sign it.

A Tribune reporter called him last night for a follow-up story, and the following discussion ensued:
Tribune Reporter: Hi, Ryan. I am calling because we are doing a follow up story on your petition could you tell me what the response has been on your petition since our first story and could you tell us how many signatures you currently have?

Ryan Alexander: Well, first of all I will not release any information about the petition until the end of the semester, as stated in the petition blog. Secondly, It is hard to judge the response to our petition because the front-page story did not give any information to students on where they could find the petition or find my blog.

Tribune Reporter: Well just so you know, we decided not to publish an address to your blog or or your petition because THE OFFICE OF STUDENT DEVELOPMENT WOULD COME DOWN ON US AND WE DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT. [Emphasis added]
It’s puzzling that the Tribune would be scared of the Office of Student Development. That office is on the “business side” of the University, reporting to Greg Kliebhan. The Tribune is part of the Journalism School. Nobody at OSD has any power over the Tribune, just as nobody at OSD has any power over faculty.

In the past, Journalism faculty have stood up for the Tribune in disputes with the “business side” of the University. Two years ago, Union employees confiscated copies of the Tribune that carried a front page story of a savage beating death in Milwaukee, apparently because it was Parents Weekend and they wanted to protect the parents from seeing any bad news about Milwaukee.

Journalism faculty demanded, and got, an apology for that action.

Why Tribune staffers are now running scared of OSD bureaucrats is something of a mystery, unless they are simply underestimating their own ability to independently report the news.

Tribune staffers were unavailable for comment.

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